Player Profile #64 – CB Chimdi Chekwa

As far as Chimdi Chekwa’s parents were concerned what happened in December was far more important than what will happen in about 10 days when their youngest son should be an early choice in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Back in December, Chekwa received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Ohio State University. That made him the sixth of Charles and Eunice Chekwa’s six children to earn their college degree. They have a way to go to catch Mom and Dad, however. Between them, Mr. and Mrs. Chekwa own five college degrees, including a doctorate in business for Charles and a Master’s degree in Mathematics for Eunice.

It’s a remarkable American success story of a young couple that escaped Nigeria during that country’s civil war and created a new life for themselves in America.

Here’s more of Chimdi Chekwa’s story.

FAMILY MATTERS

Chimdi Chekwa (pronounced Chim-dee Cheek-wah. The family’s full last name is Onwuchekwa, but his parents shortened it when they moved to the United States.)

Born – September 7, 1988 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chimdi spent his first 14 years growing up in New Orleans before his family moved to Clermont, Florida, a small residential community, about 22 miles west of Orlando in central Florida.

Family – Parents are Charles and Eunice Chekwa, Nigerian immigrants who raised six children in this country after escaping a civil war in their homeland. Charles is a college professor coordinating a graduate business program, while Eunice teaches math at East Ridge High School. They have four sons and two daughters. Ikechukwu Chekwa played wide receiver at Texas State University and Blessing Chekwa played basketball at Mississippi State.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 5-feet, 11¾ inches.
  • Weight – 191 pounds.
  • Arm – 31¼ inches.
  • Hand – 8¼ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.38 seconds
  • 20-yard dash – 2.47 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.47 seconds.
  • Bench press – did not lift because of wrist injury.
  • Vertical jump – 34½.
  • Broad jump – 10-feet, 6 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Chekwa was part of the graduating class of 2006 at East Ridge High School in Clermont, Florida.

As a senior he was first team all-Central Florida and second-team All-Florida honors.

He also won four letters in track for the Knights and qualified for the Florida state track championships with a 10.79 time in the 100 meters.

FOOTBALL

2005 – As a senior, he was part of a Clermont team that moved up two classes to the 6A level and went 10-1. His contribution – 44 tackles, four recovered fumbles, 7 INTs and 6 PBU.

2004 – The Knights finished 13-1 on the season and Chekwa collected 41 tackles, 4 INTs, 11 PBU, 1 sack and scored 2 TDs.

RECRUITING

Chekwa saw interest from a lot of ACC and SEC teams – Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Iowa State and Ohio State. He committed to the Buckeyes in February 2006.

COLLEGE

In December ’10, Chekwa earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University.

He earned some All-America mentions from his senior season and was named first-team All-Big 10; in ’09 as junior he earned honorable mention status. He was named the Arnie Chonko Award winner at Ohio State as the team’s best defensive back and he was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe (defensive backs) and Bednarik Awards (defensive player.) One note – Arnie Chonko is Dr. Arnold Chonko, professor of medicine and nephrologist at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

In his career with the Buckeyes he did not miss a game because of injury and started 39 times, with 145 total tackles and 6 interceptions.

2010 – He wrapped up his college career with 42 tackles and 3 INTs. Chekwa had 6 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 PBU and TFL against Miami and 8 tackles vs. Michigan. Early in Sugar Bowl, he landed awkwardly on his right wrist after knocking a pass away. He had surgery to repair the wrist on January 5. The screws were removed March 15.

2009 – In his junior season, Chekwa had 43 tackles, one interception and 7 PBU. He had 7 tackles in a victory over Iowa and an INT and 5 tackles against Purdue.

2008 – Chekwa became a regular starter on the corner, opening the season by taking the place of senior starter Donald Washington who was suspended for the season’s first two games. He had 30 tackles, 1 INT and 2 PBU. He had 11 solo tackles in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas.

2007 – He worked into the lineup as the nickel back and on special teams, finishing with 30 tackles, 9 PBU and 1 INT. His best performance came on 10 unassisted tackles in a victory at Purdue, earning him Big 10 Conference defensive player of the week honors.

2006 – Chekwa used his redshirt season as a true freshman.

 Year

 

G

 

S

Tot.

Tkl

 

TFL

 

Sk.

 

INT

 

PBU

 

FF

2010

13

13

42

4

1

3

9

2

2009

13

13

43

0

0

1

7

0

2008

13

13

30

0

0

1

4

0

2007

13

0

30

2

0

1

9

0

2006

0

0

X

x

X

x

x

X

Totals

52

39

145

6

1

6

29

2

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Plays the corner aggressively and ends up making plays all over the field. He has top-end speed and quick feet that allow him to track in coverage just about every type of receiver that an opponent can put on the field. Is OK in press and man-to-man coverage, but probably better suited for zone because of his closing speed, quickness and the edge that gives him in changing direction. Just OK on run support and tends to drop his head when tackling, something he must be cured of in the NFL. He’s a durable guy who never missed a game because of injury.

Weaknesses – While he’s fast, he does not play at that speed and receivers can run away from him on anything that’s lengthy. Slight of build, Chekwa does not bring a heavy hit when he gets a chance to make a tackle. Seems to have trouble breaking down on tackles in the open field and receivers have spun away or gotten free of him for more yardage. Just OK in run support and he does not take good angles when filling against the run; he must improve there. He does not have good hands and drops too many potential interceptions.

Analysis – Good all-around athlete who should be able to find time on the field as a rookie because of those gifts. A very good performer in track, some scouts characterize Chekwa as a track guy playing football, while he prefers to call himself a football player running track. He’ll need to toughen up his play and attitude in the NFL. The qualities to do this are there, given the toughness he showed at Ohio State by not missing a game despite extensive playing time.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an NFC team said – “With his body he should do more on the field than what he showed at Ohio State. He’ll play and contribute but he’s got a long way to go to be a long-time starter in the league.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“When I was little, I was pretty shy and I didn’t talk much. But I could run, and I could beat everybody. That’s how I made all my friends when I was real little.”

“I’ve always wanted to play in the NFL if I could, because the New Orleans Saints were right there. But then when I got to middle school, I started thinking I wanted to run track. Then I got to high school and realized I’m only going to get to be so fast, so I went back to concentrating on football.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel – “He’s a workmanlike guy, just a quiet guy that is always where he’s supposed to be and doing what he’s supposed to do.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

The intangibles with this young man are off the charts – durable, talented, smart, dedicated, great family background. Plus, he’s physically gifted with a dose of speed that would be welcome on the Chiefs defense. He played big-time football for four years and for the most part his effort was good enough to hold his own. Whether he would be good enough to challenge Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers for starting spots on the corner seems doubtful.

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